Tuckahoes and Cohees/Cohoes: The Scots-Irish, Ulster Scots, Anglo Scots, Ulster Irish

Here is another “dictionary” type volume which is focused on one small section of Virginia: Amherst and Nelson counties: If you have ancestors in Virginia, I suggest that you take time to search this book, even though Amherst and Nelson counties are located in the central part of the state.

Catherine Hawes Coleman Seaman. Tuckahoes and Cohees: The Settlers and Cultures of Amherst and Nelson Counties, 1607-1807. 1992. Available from Sweet Briar College Printing Press, Sweet Briar VA 24595. http://www.sbc.edu/

Cohees: spoke English, were Presbyterians, mostly independent yeomen farmers who own the lands they farm and may employee others to work under them. They also included farm laborers, semi-skilled craftsmen, and merchant traders. Their roots were Scottish, Irish, and Welsh. Frequently, they held negative attitudes toward tuckahoes. They may hold slaves and use the labor of indentured servants.

Tuckahoes: gentleman planters, love leisure, live on isolated plantations, spoke with a “Southern Accent,” were Anglicans, spent their lives engaged in horse sports, visiting among themselves with conversation and cards, actively engaged in politics and holding political offices. Their roots were English. They held slaves and used the labor of indentured servants.

Both groups included Huguenot families who could blend in with their ideals and their practices. Among these families are Duvall, Rutledge, Ligons, Farrars.

The Virginia population 1671-1715 grew steadily:

1671: 40,000 white British settlers; 6,000 white indentured servants; 2,000slaves

1715: 96,000 with 23,000 slaves=25% slaves; few indentured servants

By 1700, there were only two towns: Williamsburg and Norfolk. Business in Amherst and Nelson counties was transacted at ship’s landings on each river, plantations, tobacco warehouses, inns, ordinaries, churches, artisans workshops–and if close enough, courthouses.

Landholdings were of three types:

  1. Speculators holdings. Patented lands held for profit and re-sell. Lands were planted with tenants and slaves to produce crops and local products to sell. The overseer was usually a younger son or daughter and son-in-law to ensure the integrity of the profit.
  2. Settlers holdings. Patented lands were acquired to live on, support and raise a family. Inheritance went to children and heirs. If there were tenants, they were usually kindred.
  3. “Quarters.” Title was shared among members of a group and the patent was acquired by the group. Each quarter was named for one of the members of the group. A common group was a church-oriented party of settlers under the care of a minister who traveled from Ireland with his flock. A large, extended family could also come as a group and apply for lands together. Later they divvied up the property and filed individual titles. Taxes assessed to the members were collected by the quarter. Creeks and local roads may carry the name of the quarter as well.

An important legality: it was rather common to patent lands in the name of the son/heir–who could be a minor. The patent would be issued in his name and carry that name in the records.

And a naming pattern connected to localities:

Scots-Irish–Cohees in Virginia

Ulster Irish–Northern Ireland

Ulster Scots–Lowland Scotland, Scottish Highlands

Anglo Scots–Northern England and Wales

Very logical taxonomy. The author has found instances of these terms in these areas. In 1740, some 405 Cohees came to the Shenandoah Valley. 94% were from Northern Ireland and brought their families with them. [I might add that they were mostly related by blood and marriage and formed the core of Scots-Irish in that part of Virginia. They sat in the Anglican vestry because there were no Anglicans. They fought the Indians and the British together for the right to establish a free government under God without interference from the Crown or the established church. As Zachariah Johnston put it: “Mr. Chairman, I am a Presbyterian. I was born a Presbyterian. I will die a Presbyterian. But that day when the Presbyterianism is established by law I will cease to be a Presbyterian!”

You might also enjoy reading Howard McKnight Wilson, ThD, The Tinkling Spring: Headwater of Freedom. Fisherville VA: The Tinkling Spring and Hermitage Presbyterian Churches, 1954. Available on microfilm, FHL # [Sorry readers, this title does not appear in the familysearch online catalog. It is on the shelf in the Library because I copied several pages from it last month. Please note–that there are some problems with the FHL catalog. I am till trying to determine how to compensate for those items that do not appear. AE I’ll keep you posted.]

In the meantime, many libraries have copies and it may still be available from Tinkling Spring itself. The members of the church were taxed under “John Christian Quarter,”  “John Finley’s Quarter,” etc.  Your favorite genealogy expert of choice, Arlene Eakle http://www.arleneeakle.com

PS The Tinkling Spring – Headwaters of Freedom was written by Howard McKnight Wilson in 1954. The Second Edition with updates was published in 1974. This book provides a comprehensive 378 page history of the Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church, including appendixes with genealogical information.

The session of Tinkling Spring has authorized another update to the book. A committee is currently in the process of compiling the data from the past thirty years of the church’s history. When complete, the book will be reprinted and available for sale.

In you are interested in purchasing a book, please call the church office at (540) 885-0746 or email Missy Brydge to have your name placed on a list to be contacted when the updated version of The Tinkling Spring – Headwaters of Freedom is available. http://www.tinklingspring.org

PPS Hooray!

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4 Responses to Tuckahoes and Cohees/Cohoes: The Scots-Irish, Ulster Scots, Anglo Scots, Ulster Irish

  1. admin says:

    A follow-up on a call number at the FHL for Tinkling Spring: It seems that the Family History Library has withdrawn their copy of the book. It has not yet been microfilmed. And a copy of the new edition referred to above will be ordered and added to the collection when it is available.
    In the meantime, I have a copy in my own library and I will do look-ups for readers of this blog. Send your request by email. Include your postal address so I can send photocopies if I find something. Donations for postage will be great fully received.
    Give me a day or two and I will post some of the essential Virginia data that Rev. Wilson included in this text, so you can determine if it might hold information for your ancestors. Arlene Eakle

  2. Carollovitt says:

    I would appreciate any information on James Barnett Kenney who married Miss Kramer, no first name known. They married about 1751. After Miss Kramer Kenney died James Barnett Kenney according to family married another lady named Mary, no last name known. James Kenney who married Mary Frame, married 1771. They all went to Tinkling Springs Church. Thank you.
    Carol Lovitt

  3. admin says:

    The index to Tinkling Spring: Headwater of Freedom includes no Kenney entries. There are three Barnet entries: Joseph 170, Robert 470, Elizabeth 470.

    Frame entries are Thomas 77; James 440 and map; John, Mary, William, Esther, Jennet, Elisabeth all on page 474.

    No Kramer entries.

    On page 477 are David, Mary, Felix, James, Martha, and Eleanor Kennedy. And David 443, George S. and Arabella B. 469.

    If you will send your postal address by email (arlene@arleneeakle.com), I will be happy to photocopy these pages for you. Arlene Eakle

  4. Kevin Conner says:

    I’ve read the book in question. My grandmother has it. We are a very historical family.

    It’s always good to know from whence your lineage came. Why? Just for the purpose of understanding family tradition and to learn from the past.

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